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There Was A Huge Outpouring Of Support For This Little Girl Who Got Bullied For Loving Bugs

Let Sophia play with her bugs!

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This is Sophia. She's seven-and-a-half years old and she loves bugs.

Nicole Spencer

Sophia's mom, Nicole Spencer, says Sophia has always been fascinated by insects. It all started when Spencer got Sophia her first bugcatcher when she was still a toddler.

"Her best friend and her named themselves 'The Bug Hunters' — a name she still uses today," Spencer told BuzzFeed News. "For some reason I cannot explain, she has a connection with bugs."

But not everyone share's Sophia's love for critters, and Spencer said kids at school have been bullying her daughter over it.

Nicole Spencer

Spencer said the family moved last year to a community in Eastern Ontario. At her new school, Sophia's love for bugs has seen her branded as a "weirdo," Spencer said.

One girl told the other kids not to play with Sophia, and a boy asked to see one of her friends only to kill it by stomping on it. She's also been "dragged through mud" and hit by some of the other kids, Spencer said. All because she has a hobby the other kids can't understand.

"This series of similar events kept happening," Spencer said. "I encouraged her to speak up to teachers and she would come home tell me the teacher either ignored her or did nothing about the names and teasing."

Nicole Spencer

Distressed over how Sophia was being treated at school, Spencer has tried to encourage her daughter to keep pursuing her interests and not to worry what the others say about her.

"A couple of months ago, Sophia had asked me if she could make a career out of bugs someday, and I told her of course," Spencer said.

Spencer promised her daughter she would find out more about how she could become a professional bug hunter when she grows up, so she reached out to the Entomology Society of Canada.

A young girl who loves insects is being bullied & needs our support. DM your email & we'll connect you! #BugsR4Girls

In a letter to the society, she described the bullying and asked if there was anyone who could mentor Sophia or be a pen pal to her.

"I want her to know from an expert that she is not weird or strange ... for loving bugs and insects," Spencer wrote in her letter.

The response, Spencer said, was immediate and overwhelming. Within only a day, Sophia had dozens of fellow bug lovers from around the world offering to help.

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"There have been people working in Canada, the Amazon rainforest, Venezuela, the UK, and USA reaching out to offer support, encouragement and offers to be her pen pal. I know she cannot even grasp the amount of support this has shown but I do and it has truly been a blessing."

Nicole Spencer

Spencer shared some of those notes with Sophia.

"She was jumping up and down on the bed, so excited that there are female entomologists, scientist, biologists all over the world."

And when Sophia heard that all of these amazing scientists wanted to give her tours of their research facilities, Spencer said she fell down on her bed and said, "Oh my I must be dreaming this."

Now, with the new school year almost started, Sophia knows she's not weird for liking bugs. And she has a ton of new friends who will do everything they can to keep encouraging her.

Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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